Add sparkle to your summer with oysters three ways

vino - oystersWhen Aussie born wine retailers Vinomofo approached me and asked me to pair some recipes with their wine, I jumped at the chance. Jumped, literally. I like food. And I like wine with my food. But most of all, Vinomofo is the epitome of the small Aussie startup that’s making it to the big time. They get some pretty epic deals in. I just ordered a couple cases of one of my favourites, Paxton AAA  at $10.90 a bottle – the cheapest I’ve ever seen it elsewhere is $17.

If you’re trying something new, let’s say you don’t like it – well, they come and pick up the rest of the case at no charge. I now buy my wine almost exclusively from them. After all, who doesn’t love an local success story (and a good deal)?…

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Beer-ify your IKEA BEKVÄM step stool

beer bekvam step stoolLove IKEA? Actually, don’t answer that. If you don’t, I probably don’t need to know. I’m the first to admit that they’re not the cheapest, but they do have a lot of very cool basics. Glasses for a dollar? I’m there.

In fact, the only problem with IKEA is that they didn’t come to Canberra sooner.

But, moving on. Here’s a really fun idea to update your IKEA step stool in a true blue Aussie way. It’s also a pretty damn awesome Christmas present for someone that a) loves beer, and b) is short. Ok, maybe they don’t even need to be short because it makes a good side table, if you decide to not use it as a step.

Step 1: Purchase an IKEA Bekvam step stool.

Step 2: Purchase and consume a significant amount of different beers.

This stool was for a good friend who recently got his Australian citizenship, so I used all Australian boutique beers.

beersStep 3: Soak bottles.

Grab a bucket, fill it with water and chuck the bottles in there. They’ll need to soak for a couple of hours so you can peel the labels off easily.

Step 4: While the bottles are soaking, stain the legs.

It’s a lot easier to do when the step is 90% assembled. Basically, assemble it, but don’t put on the flat step bits just yet. Stain or paint it in the colour of your choice.

Step 5: Peel the labels off the beer bottles.

It doesn’t matter if they’re a bit torn or cracked. Gives the finished product that vintage feel.

Step 6: Arrange the labels.

Just on the step parts, and make sure you’ve got the right side. There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve spent all this time pasting labels… on the wrong side. I think it looks better when the labels go around the side bit of the step too.

Step 7: Once you’re happy with the arrangement, paste the labels on using PVA glue.

Allow to dry for 30 mins to an hour.

Step 8: Finish with a coat of varnish.

I used a clear polyurethane called Cabot’s Clear. I’m convinced this stuff is just expensive PVA glue though.

Use.

beers-2

Edible Chocolate Christmas Wreath

chocolatechristmaswreathI love Christmas. It’s a time for family get togethers, copious amounts of food, but most of all it is about love and laughter. This year’s been a hectic one and I haven’t had time to do the gingerbread baking I normally do at Christmas, so I’ve come up with this instead.

Here are three reasons to make this.

  1. It takes all of 30 minutes (not Jamie Oliver minutes either).

  2. You don’t have to store it. I hate packing up Christmas decorations.

  3. It’s chocolate.

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